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ADAPT study: adaptation of evidence-informed complex population health interventions for implementation and/or re-evaluation in new contexts: protocol for a Delphi consensus exercise to develop guidance
  1. Mhairi Campbell1,
  2. Graham Moore2,
  3. Rhiannon E Evans2,
  4. Dmitry Khodyakov3,
  5. Peter Craig1
  6. On behalf of the ADAPT Study team
    1. 1MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences, Glasgow, UK
    2. 2The Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Public Health Interventions, Cardiff University, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, UK
    3. 3Pardee RAND Graduate School, RAND Corp, Santa Monica, California, USA
    1. Correspondence to Ms Mhairi Campbell; Mhairi.Campbell{at}


    Introduction Complex population health interventions that are effective in one context may not be effective elsewhere, and may even be harmful. As such, an intervention may require adaptation to ensure it fits with a new context. To date, there is no overarching guidance to help researchers to adapt and evaluate interventions in new contexts, and no criteria to support research funders or journals assess proposed or reported adaptations or evaluation. There is limited assistance for policy-makers and practitioners to decide if evidence-informed interventions are appropriate to their context, or if adaptation and further evaluation is needed. This Delphi exercise will contribute to the development of guidance for these communities to support the adaptation, implementation and/or re-evaluation of complex population health interventions in new contexts.

    Methods We will conduct a Delphi consensus exercise to gather expert opinion from researchers, research funders, journal editors and policy-makers. Expert opinion will be sought on: appropriate definitions and concepts, identifying key methodological considerations and establishing adaptations and processes to be undertaken during adaptation of complex population health interventions in new contexts.

    Ethics and dissemination Ethics approval for the Delphi exercise has been obtained from the University of Glasgow and and the RAND institutional research board. Dissemination of the results of this study will be through peer-reviewed publications, workshops at national and international conferences, and a summary of the guidance developed for key organisations and stakeholders.

    • statistics & research methods
    • public health
    • health policy

    This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. See:

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    • Collaborators Hannah Littlecott, Jeremy Segrott, Simon Murphy and Lauren Copeland of DECIPHer, Cardiff University; Laurence Moore of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit at the University of Glasgow; Eva Rehfuess, Ani Movsisyan, Laura Arnold and Lisa Maria Pfadenhauer of Ludwig Maximilians University Munich; Pat Hoddinott of the University of Stirling; Professor Alicia O’Cathain of the University of Sheffield.

    • Contributors REE and GM conceived the idea of the study. REE, GM, PC, MC and DK designed the consensus exercise methodology. MC prepared the first draft of the protocol manuscript and all authors critically reviewed and approved the final manuscript.

    • Funding The study is funded by the MRC/NIHR Methodology Research Programme from 2018 to 2020 (MR/R013357/1). The work was undertaken with the support of The Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer), a UKCRC Public Health Research Centre of Excellence. Joint funding (MR/KO232331/1) from the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Economic and Social Research Council, Medical Research Council, the Welsh Government and the Wellcome Trust, under the auspices of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration, is gratefully acknowledged. PC and MC receive funding from the UK Medical Research Council (MC_UU_12 017–13 and MC_UU_12 017–15) and the Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office (SPHSU13 and SPHSU15).

    • Disclaimer The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and not necessarily those of their employer/host organisations.

    • Competing interests None declared.

    • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

    • Patient consent for publication Not required.

    • Ethics approval University of Glasgow College of Social Sciences ethics committee (reference number 400190054) and the RAND institutional research board (reference number 2019–0937)

    • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; peer reviewed for ethical and funding approval prior to submission.

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